As Mission Controller Shane was away last week and the AMRC was very busy with the exciting budget day reporting hosted by Sky News here at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the team decided to spend last week re-boxing up the aircraft with insulation and heaters ready for a set of ultimate load testing this week.
The second life fatigue testing was completed successfully the week before and now that the Mission Controller Shane is back, he is currently validating the testing programmes for this week’s testing.
This week’s ultimate load tests will consist of a residual strength test where the Game Bird 1 is pushed up and pulled down on the Whiffletree rig to 72 degrees, applied by a load of 64.5 kilo newtons; the same forces applied throughout the fatigue testing.
Once complete a heated static ultimate load test will pulling down the plane on the rig first with a force of 82.65 kilo newtons, then the aircraft is pushed up on the rig plus 15 per cent of that force.
As we are still experiencing some play in one of the wing pins, Game Composites are currently assessing whether they want to complete some repairs to the damaged bushes this has caused before we go ahead with the testing tomorrow, so Game could well be back on-site with us this afternoon.
As well as Game, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be present on-site to witness the tests and we will update as soon as possible, hopefully with some video of the nerve-wracking testing, so you can experience what the team go through when putting the Game Bird 1 through its paces!
Today was a great day! Last Friday, after all the ups and downs, we finished all the fatigue testing after we reached 71 633 cycles.
With this complete it was time for us to move onto the ultimate load test, performed once before, where the aircraft gets boxed in insulation and heated up to a toasty 72 degrees Celsius. This definitely helps take the edge of the February chills we have here in South Yorkshire.
So with the airframe all boxed up as you can see in the picture, we were all ready for the residual strength test to 64.85 kN which the airframe had no trouble getting through.
When this first pre-load test was complete, we moved onto the static ultimate load test which took the Game Bird 1 up to 82.65 kN. This is the highest loading that the airframe has seen to date, so it was a tense time for all involved. The Game Composites team were on site during the testing today, so we were all feeling the pressure!
Fortunately relief spread across us all when the airframe passed with flying colours. There was the odd creak which was expected, although this didn’t help with the tension levels when we were all watching!
It has certainly been a very exciting week for us here at the AMRC and guided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), it is now time for us and the team from Game Composites to decide what’s next when it comes to further testing for the Game Bird 1 aerobatic aircraft!
Not too much to update on this week. We’re continuing to wrap the plane up in insulation. We’ll be really good at the Christmas wrapping after this! Shhhusssh don’t tell our wives, girlfriends and mothers!!!
The heaters that will heat the plane up to 72°C are also now in place and Andy and Lawrence have been wiring them up. 72°C is pretty hot! It’s hotter than the required temperature a pasty must reach before it’s safe to eat so we’re hoping to store a few pasties in there for mid-morning snacks!
Hopefully by the next blog we’ll have successfully completed the temperature controlled static limit load test and will be able to update you on how it went and what’s next on the agenda!
This week we have been making preparations for the temperature controlled static limit load test. This will involve us heating plane up to 72°cand performing a single cycle test on the structure. The plane will get pushed up and pulled down once so there’s a lot of work is going into 20 seconds worth of testing but it’s all worth it!
Show Boss Phil has been in touch with a company called SIG Technical Insulation. They kindly agreed to supply us with all the insulation material we require to insulate the plane, free of charge (he must have been fluttering his big eyelashes!). SIG pulled out all the stops to get the insulation material to us in break-neck speed. They bypassed the depot and got it delivered direct to us straight from the manufacturer in South Wales – we could get
used to this special treatment! A huge thanks goes out to SIG Technical Insulation for their support.
The team has been busy constructing a steel frame to lift the insulation that will surround the plane, a metre off the floor so we don’t unnecessarily heat up a lot of dead space. If we built a big box around the plane and the whiffletree as well, we would probably end up heating up around three times more the volume of air than necessary. By building a sealed chamber around just the plane, it will take less time to heat up and also use less energy in doing so, so it’s a win-win for structural testing and the environment! We are also making sure the whiffletree structure, that’s made of steel, the hydraulic actuator and the load cell are insulated too to reduce the amount of heat they absorb and ensure there’s no adverse effects on the measurements when we do the test.
On top of the steel frame we’ve built we’ve started to build a flat table-top structure which is a bigger footprint than the plane, to allow us to sit the four big electric heaters, which will be used to heat up the insulated enclosure, on. The client fitted a thermocouple on the wing spar of the plane; the wing spar is one of the main structural points of the plane; and it’ll be that thermocouple we monitor to decide when it’s hot enough to do the test.
If everything goes to plan with the temperature controlled static limit load test,, (the plane’s design engineer is as nervous as an expectant parent so for the sake of his sanity, we hope it does!) we can move onto the next step of the plan which is to remove the insulation and perform an inspection before conduct another static limit load at room temperature. If all that runs smoothly, we will rebuild the insulation chamber around the plane and conduct a static ultimate load testat 72°c.. This means putting an even higher load onto the plane at a high temperature so it will be a tense but exciting time for us all!
If all the static load tests go to plan, we’ll have the green light to start on the fatigue test which is made up of 71,633 cycles – but more on that in the coming weeks.